It’s generally accepted that you will need to beat some big teams at some point if you want to win a competition, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t hope for the easiest possible draw each time.
You’ll always have the hope that some smaller sides will pull off an upset elsewhere before running out of steam when they meet you, while momentum can also carry you through as you go deeper into the competition.
Lazio are the perfect example of a team who nobody really expects to win the Champions League, but they do have some quality players who could trouble the elite sides when they meet.
They managed to scrape through their group after a nervy game against Club Brugge last night, but finishing in second place means they’ll likely draw one of the toughest teams in the next round.
The Mirror picked up on some of Ciro Immobile’s comments after the game last night, and it’s clear that he’s hoping to avoid the likes of Liverpool and Bayern Munich:
“We are a surprise because we have been missing for so long in the Champions League, we have given everything. We put enthusiasm, from the coach to the club, we know the fans suffered from home with us and we are proud of what we did.
“Tonight it was difficult, they are an important team. Now we wait for the draw and hope not to be drawn with prohibitive teams such as Bayern or Liverpool. We have enthusiasm, we enjoy playing. The important thing is to gain experience in this competition.”
His comments make it clear that they don’t really believe they can win, but we saw with Lyon last year that it’s possible to create some huge upsets if you’re organised and have quality on the break, so it will be interesting to see what they can achieve.